- Kroger has hired more than 100,000 new employees in the last eight weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a company press release. The new hires have filled roles to support retail stores, e-commerce, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.
- The company implemented an expedited hiring process that allows new employees to complete onboarding procedures within an average of 72 hours. The faster process has benefited the grocer's efforts to expand its pickup operations and step up sanitation in stores and facilities.
- In March, Kroger partnered with companies including Marriott International, Waffle House and Sodexo to provide temporary employment opportunities for workers in the hard-hit hotel, restaurant and foodservice industries.
While demand among consumers for groceries may taper off in the coming weeks and months, Kroger continues to have open positions available across the U.S. in various facilities and roles and said it still needs people to apply.
In addition to an expedited onboarding process, Kroger said it adjusted its approach for new employees to focus on tasks rather than role-based development. The goal is to help the new hires acclimate more quickly to their jobs and the company’s expectations.
Since March, Kroger has invested about $700 million on employee compensation and safety protocols for customers and workers.
It’s that possible Kroger is highlighting these efforts right now to offset some of the backlash over the end of its "hero pay" initiative, which will expire this Sunday, upsetting workers and labor unions.
Aside from the temporary extra pay, Kroger has provided other benefits to its workers during the pandemic, including paid time off and paid emergency leave for those infected with COVID-19, mental health resources and a “Helping Hands” fund with $5 million to provide support to associates experiencing hardships.
Several retailers have had to boost hiring efforts in recent months to keep up with elevated customer demand. Instacart quickly met targets to hire 300,000 new shoppers to pick and deliver e-commerce orders, and followed up with plans to hire 250,000 more. Walmart fulfilled its pledge to hire 150,000 new workers in mid-April, six weeks ahead of its projection, and aimed to bring on 50,000 more hires.